Last minute train ticket availability

Apr 19th, 2007, 04:57 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 197
Last minute train ticket availability

I've entered the transportation phase of my pre-trip planning (May trip to Cologne, Haarlem, Brugges, Paris) & have a question for savvy train travellers. For MID-WEEK train travel from Haarlem to Brugges and from Brugges to Paris, will we be OK buying our tickets the night before or the day of our departure? Or, do trains fill up so quickly that we might risk getting only unpopular times (as in, anything before 9 am or after 5 pm)?

I've already purchased my tix from the airport to Cologne and our tix from Cologne to Amsterdam (we'll make our way to Haarlem after hanging out a bit in Amsterdam). I've got prices and schedules from both the Belgian and French train lines...but haven't pressed the "buy" button. I'd prefer flexibility in leaving, but don't want to end up paying through the nose or losing seats. Thanks in advance!
NThea is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 05:09 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,699
I don't believe train ticket prices increase the closer you get to your departure. I can only speak for my limited train travel in Italy but I always buy tickets after I've arrived in the country.
sandi_travelnut is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 05:26 AM
  #3  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,159
Hi NT,

It's either Brugge or Bruges.

Check fares at www.voyages-sncf.com for Bruges to Paris.

If you find a PREMS fare, take it now. Otherwise, it won't matter when you buy your tickets.

ira is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 05:47 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,129
For local trains in Belgium and the Netherlands, there are no seat reservations and therefore no limit to the number of tickets sold. You could buy as many tickets as you like from Haarlem to Brugge. It's just like buying a ticket for the metro or subway.
From Brugge to Paris, you can get a local train to Brussels then a Thalys (both run every half hour) or local trains to Lille then a TGV (every hour). Reservations are needed for both Thalys and TGVs.
Note that the Belgian city is Brugge in the local language or "Bruges" in French, but never "Brugges".
GeoffHamer is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 06:36 AM
  #5  
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 197
Thanks Ira and GeoffHamer! I have been spelling Brugge/Bruges three different ways for months now. (One of the ways clearly is incorrect. My sincerest apologies to Belgians worldwide for spelling it "Brugges.") I've often wondered: why can't people worldwide just spell the names of cities as they are spelled locally? For example, the English-spelling Florence should be Firenze, Milan should be Milano, etc. Is Milano really that difficult? Just my thoughts for the day...

P.S. Ira - the Prems tix are for June. Guess I missed the boat on that one!
NThea is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 06:46 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 9,312
Hi NThea,

Switzerland is terrible for this. One country, four languages. Even the name Switzerland isn't the same. Schweiz, Suisse, Svizzera and Svizra all are used for Switzerland. It's amazing how well this country functions in its tower of Babel.
kleeblatt is offline  

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